Hampton Rovers defeated Prahran Assumption by nine points in the final home game of the season to go one step closer to securing the minor premiership.
The in-form Prahran had it all to play for, needing to win to maintain their fourth-place on the ladder and keep their finals hopes alive. They came out firing and were the better team in the first term, up by seven points at the first change. Mat Care and Joel Melnjak kicked the Rovers majors.
Zach Donald has had a terrible run with injuries in 2018 and unfortunately it continued when an awkward landing left him with a broken ankle. He left the ground and will play no further part this season – everyone at the club wishes him the best for his recovery.
As it would turn out, the visitors failed to score a single point towards the David Street end of Boss James Reserve, while the Rovers had 12 scoring shots, although resulting in just the two goals, but that proved to be the difference on the day.
It was proving to be a low-scoring affair, and much like the weather, in a dull second term, Joel Melnjak kicked his second and the only goal of the term to hand the Rovers back the lead. Five points the advantage at the main break.
As the rain started to fall in the third quarter, the tight and congested footy continued, although the scoring opened up. Five goals for the term, with Prahran snatching back the lead and up by one point at three-quarter time.
The Rovers controlled the last quarter as the rain pelted down. Prahran struggled to get the ball into their forward line with the Rovers back six holding strong. Still, the Rovers struggled to kick a goal despite a number of chances and the margin remainder under a kick.
It wasn’t until the 21-minute mark that Christian Carnovale took a strong mark in the forward pocket and kicked truly around his body to give the Rovers some breathing space. That, and a courageous mark as the visitors pressed forward, were two of the skipper’s numerous highlights as he continuously worked hard to get his side over the line.
The Rovers held on as the final siren confirmed the 14th win of the season and denting Prahran’s finals aspirations in the process. Ben Kneebush, Liam McCartney and Josh Pavlou were outstanding for the Rovers all day.
In the final round of the home and away season, the Rovers travel to EE Gunn Reserve to face second-placed Ormond in what will be a warm-up to the Semi Final the following week. Back in round nine, nothing could separate the two sides as they played out a draw at Boss James Reserve.
HAMPTON ROVERS 2.2 3.8 5.10 6.14 (50)
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 3.3 3.3 6.5 6.5 (41)
Goal Kickers: J. Melnjak 2, C. Carnovale 2, M. Care, R. Atkins
Best Players: B. Kneebush, L. McCartney, J. Pavlou, J. Prosser, J. Broadley, C. Carnovale
Final siren! Rovers win by 9pts. HR 6.14.50 Prahran 6.5.41 pic.twitter.com/dv4VjrMP0I
— Hampton Rovers FC (@HRAFC) August 11, 2018
It was all one-way traffic in the early game, with the Reserves thrashing Prahran to the tune of 134 points. Kyle Pinto bagged six majors in a best on ground performance and Nick Jackson continued his good form in front of goal with three. Other standout performers were Tim Jones and Lachie Cairns who has just returned from overseas.
The Thirds unfortunately couldn’t get over the line in their Semi Final against UHS-VU. The opposition was much stronger than when the two sides met earlier in the season and they ran out 26-point winners to progress to the Prelim Final while knocking the Rovers out. In his 300th game, captain Adam Power was best for the Rovers, also kicking three goals. Christian Harbour, Matt Innes and Tom Youl were also amongst the best. Still a great season by the boys, being the first time the Rovers Thirds have qualified for finals.
The Under 19s put in a good performance against the fourth-placed Marcellin, but went down by 19 points away from home. Coughlin, Sharry and Marron kicked two goals each while Benji Audige was best for the Rovers. They take on Old Trinity in the final game of the season at Boss James Reserve on Saturday (12pm start).